The publication of Mother Teresa's letters to her confessor--which she asked to be destroyed--has garnered lots of newsprint in the past few days. This should be a lesson for those with last wishes: don't ask the Holy See to carry them out.
There's an interesting aside to atheists in Time Magazine article:
But to the U.S.'s increasingly assertive cadre of atheists...will see the book's Teresa more like the woman in the archetypal country-and-western song who holds a torch for her husband 30 years after he left to buy a pack of cigarettes and never returned. Says Christopher Hitchens, author of The Missionary Position, a scathing polemic on Teresa, and more recently of the atheist manifesto God Is Not Great: "She was no more exempt from the realization that religion is a human fabrication than any other person, and that her attempted cure was more and more professions of faith could only have deepened the pit that she had dug for herself."I would argue that the difference is that the woman in the country western song has a husband who's left, and therefore there is a possibility he may return. When you carry a torch for the god meme, the possibility of an appearance is even more remote. In her own words,
“For me, the silence and the emptiness is so great, that I look and do not see,—Listen and do not hear—the tongue moves but does not speak.” “Such deep longing for God—and … repulsed—empty—no faith—no love—no zeal.—[The saving of] Souls holds no attraction—Heaven means nothing.” “What do I labor for? If there be no God—there can be no soul—if there is no Soul then Jesus—You also are not true.”Like Hitchens I tend to believe that the absence of evidence is the evidence of absence.
"The smile," she writes, is "a mask" or "a cloak that covers everything." Similarly, she wonders whether she is engaged in verbal deception. "I spoke as if my very heart was in love with God — tender, personal love," she remarks to an adviser. "If you were [there], you would have said, 'What hypocrisy.'"It's too bad she didn't have the balls to publicly express her agnosticism. At Richard Dawkins' website, one poster noted a stunning similarity between quotes by Mother Teresa and Sylvia Plath:
"I talk to God, but the sky is empty, and Orion walks by and doesn't speak."Can you tell which is which? The answer is below.
"I am told God loves me, and yet the reality of the darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul."
And in case you had any doubt about Sylvia Plath's atheism, her poem, The Dead:
Couched in cauls of clay as in holy robes,
Dead men render love and war no heed,
Lulled in the ample womb of the full-tilt globe.
No spiritual Caesars are these dead;
They want no proud paternal kingdom come;
And when at last they blunder into bed
World-wrecked, they seek only oblivion.Rolled round with goodly loam and cradled deep,
These bone shanks will not wake immaculate
To trumpet-toppling dawn of doomstruck day :
They loll forever in colossal sleep;
Nor can God's stern, shocked angels cry them up
From their fond, final, infamous decay.
The first quote was MT, the second, SP.